On the evening of December 10th, 2007 a Pismo Beach resident was found by the use of Project Lifesaver equipment. He was reported missing by his wife and later found by the SLO Sheriff's department. The following is an excerpt from an article written by AnnMarie Cornejo in the December 12th Tribune.
"A small, battery-operated transmitter bracelet on the wrist of a Pismo Beach man with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia may have saved his life. Joseph Taylor, 83, was reported missing at 5:07 p.m. Monday (December 10 th, 2007) by his wife, according to Pismo Beach police.
The San Luis Obispo County sheriff’s search-and-rescue team found him, unhurt, nearly six hours later in Santa Maria after he apparently rode his bike there. “He was 20 miles away, 83 years old on a bike,” said Rob Bryn, Sheriff’s Department spokesman. “That is totally outside of the dementia profile for a search. We would have never found him.”
Taylor ’s wife, Sheila, said her husband had never gone that far away from home before. They had signed up for the bracelet about a month and a half ago and had never had to use it before. Bryn said the bracelet helped deputies approximate Taylor’s location within minutes from a CHP helicopter. Once they had a signal, it took about 90 minutes to pinpoint his exact location because he was still moving. Protocol and experience in similar searches would have guided deputies to look in familiar places and surrounding neighborhoods, Bryn said.
The Project Lifesaver bracelet Taylor was wearing is part of a program run by the Sheriff’s Department. It emits a radio frequency that can be tracked on ground or by air over several miles. Taylor is one of an estimated 5,000 people in San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara counties who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. About 35 people wear the bracelets, Bryn said. “This bracelet can save lives. More people need to know about it,” he said. “Anyone at risk because of Alzheimer’s, dementia or a developmental disability should know what the device is capable of.”
Sheila Taylor said the bracelet was critical in finding her husband quickly. “Without the bracelet, they would have had to call off the search and start again in the next morning,” she said. “It was a good deal all the way around, and he came home safe and no worse for wear.” Taylor said she advises anyone with a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia to look into the program. "